Chicken Marengo

A recipe for victory

Dunan, chef to Napoleon's army in Italy, is generally credited with the invention of this recipe. He had to create a meal in haste in the evening after the Battle of Marengo (14 June 1800) for the victorious General Bonaparte. Having no butter to hand, and deciding that it would take too long to roast a chicken whole, he chose to fry the chicken pieces in olive oil with some tomatoes and onions, ingredients available locally.

This recipe can also be made using veal, duck or rabbit portions.


1 decent chicken, quartered
Olive oil
1 onion, sliced (not chopped)
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
salt/white pepper/herbs
¼ l. (½ pint ) white wine
¼ l. (½ pint) water of chicken stock
1 dsp of flour
Button mushrooms, thinly sliced

Period Recipe

Before getting down to it, a light lunch!Heat the butter and olive oil together in an iron casserole dish over a medium flame and add the chicken pieces.Remove the chicken pieces when browned, and add the sliced onion. Brown onions and at the same time prepare a 'campaign tomato sauce' by combining the tomatoes, salt, pepper and herbs and warming over a gentle flame for about seven minutes.When the onion is softened but not browned, return the chicken to the casserole and add the tomato sauce to the chicken.Make the 'Marengo Sauce' by mixing the white wine, the water and the flour (first stir the flour into a little of the wine).Add this sauce to the chicken and tomatoes, mix and simmer for about an hour.Wipe clean the button mushrooms, cut into fine slices and add them to the chicken for a further 15 minutes cooking. In the case of a post-battle noshup! Add fried, garlic croutons and cover each chicken piece with a fried egg. Bon appetit! 

Bon appetit

1. Brown the chicken pieces in a casserole in the olive oil and a little butter.

2. Slice the onion into rings. Fry in the oil and butter mixture, used to brown the chicken, until translucent.

3. Prepare a tomato sauce by roughly chopping the tomatoes and cooking over a low heat for a few minutes with the salt, pepper and herbs.

4. Add these ingredients to the chicken.

5. Make the Marengo sauce with white wine, water and flour.

6. Add this sauce to the chicken and simmer for about 1 hour.

7. Chop the mushrooms into thin slices.

8. Add these to the chicken and cook for a further 15 min.

Post-battle recipe

To the above dish, add garlic croûtons and fried eggs laid on top of the chicken portions. The truly brave may also welcome the addition of a few crayfish to this dish!

Type of Recipe